The Dread Witch prestige class (Heroes of Horror) has a nifty little ability called Reflective Fear:

Reflective Fear (Su): At 5th level, any fear effect against which you successfully save is immediately targeted back at the source. You still gain the benefits of absorb fear. If the source of the fear effect fails its save, everyone else who might have been subject to the fear effect (such as your companions) immediately gains a second saving throw to shake off the effects, as they observe the object of their fear itself grow terrified.

Seems a little situational for a capstone ability... but there's a few tricks you can pull with this once you realize your own spells can activate it. For instance, if you have a beneficial spell (that has a visual effect) you can use fearful empowerment (another Dread Witch ability, 1/day) to give it a fear effect and cast in on yourself, chaining it until you fail your save against the fear effect. Now take that idea a little bit further and do the same thing with an AOE spell (either a fear spell or use your fearful empowerment). Endless fun. Potentially literally.

Which brings us to today's specific question: does this work with bane? The spell targets every "enemy" within 50ft; if they fail a will save it inflicts a penalty on attack and will saves against fear (cue evil laughter, yes please). But can you count as your own enemy, targeting yourself and initiating a chain of infinite debuffs (until you fail the will save)? I'm tempted to argue that since you're casting a hostile spell at yourself, yes you do, but that... seems a little too circular.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So the plan is to have the dread witch to cast bane modified by the fearful empowerment ability so that the bane spell affects the dread witch. Then the dread witch uses the ability absorbs fear so that she can cast again the bane spell, repeating that process until the dread witch fails the saving throw against a bane spell. Is that accurate? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2018 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I don't think you actually need Fearful Empowerment because bane already has the [fear] descriptor, so it's a save against a fear effect by default. That wouldn't work with Absorb Fear, but it does work with the capstone ability Reflective Fear, which essentially mimics the spell but targeted on the person that originally cast it (which is you). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2, 2019 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I'm reading the ability correctly, the bane effect is targeted back at the source, so rather than bane affecting everyone again, it would simply try to affect the dread witch again? Or is that too narrow a reading to be entertained? Or is that partially the question? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2, 2019 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I need to make a separate question just on how Reflective Fear works. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2019 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, created a second, broader question on the mechanics of Reflective Fear in cases involving things like metamagic and AOE. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/139172/… \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2019 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


The definition of enemy is...

"A creature unfriendly to you." Players Handbook p308

If "you" are genuinely unfriendly to "you" then "you" would not be trying to pull a fast one with the rules to disadvantage your real enemies. This GM would not allow those sort of shenanigans any more than I would allow a player to make an attack of opportunity against themselves for moving out of their own threatened square (in order to use some power to reflect it back at another "enemy").


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